tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS July 4, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
>> tonight, mitt romney on the record. >> obamacare's a tax-- like it or not, it's a tax. >> in an interview with january crawford, he shifts his campaign's position and falls in line with other republicans on the president's health care reform. after dropping 60 cents in three michelle miller on the plummeting price of gas. physicists think they've found their holy grail. mark phillips on the particle that may hold the universe together. >> really an incredible thing that's happened in my lifetime. >> glor: and mark strassmann meets a man who gives america's fallen soldiers their final salute. ("taps") captioning sponsored by cbs
this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> glor: good evening, everyone, i'm jeff glor. scott is off tonight. it's the one idea that turned the supreme court decision on health care, this week it is the one idea that is front and center on the presidential campaign trail. whether the individual mandate-- the provision that requires every american to have health insurance-- amounts to a tax. on monday, mitt romney's senior advisors sided with president obama and against other republicans by calling it a penalty. today romney said not so. jan crawford sat down with the presumptive republican nominee in new hampshire where he's on vacation. >> reporter: romney has come under fire since the supreme court's decision because his position on this tax issue has been at odds with every republican that, of course, being in their saying that the health care law was in fact a massive tax hike. today in his first interview since the supreme court's decision, romney tried to clear things up. >> well, the supreme court has
the final word and their final word is that obamacare is a tax. so it's a tax. it's... they decided it was constitutional, so it's a tax and it's constitutional. that's the final word. that's what it is. >> reporter: have you changed your views on this? do you now believe that it is a tax at the federal level? that the supreme court has said it's a tax so it is a tax? >> i said i agreed with the dissent and the dissent made it very clear that they felt it was unconstitutional but the dissent lost, it's in the minority. so now the supreme court has spoken. there's no way around. that you can try and say you wish they had decided a different way, but they didn't. they concluded it was a tax, that's what it is and the american people know that president obama has broken the pledge he made. said he wouldn't raise taxes on middle income americans. not only did he raise the $500 billion that was already in the bill, it's now clear that his mandate as described by the supreme court is a tax. >> reporter: but does that mean that the mandate in the state of massachusetts under your health care law also is a tax?
and that you raised taxes as governor? >> reporter: actually, the chief justice in his opinion made it very clear that at the state level states have the power to put in place mandates. they don't need to require them to be called taxes in order for them to be constitutional and as a result massachusetts mandate was a mandate, was a penalty, was described that way by the legislature and by me me and so it stays as it was. >> reporter: if the state level... the supreme court says that's different, that the federal government... >> they made it very clear. >> reporter: the powers are different between the states and federal government? does that make sense to you? >> just take a read of the opinion. the chief justice said that states have what's known as "police power," and states can implement penalties and mandates and so forth under their constitutions, which is what massachusetts did but the federal government does not have those powers and therefore for the supreme court to reach the conclusion it did-- that the law was constitutional-- they had to find it was a tax and they did. and therefore obamacare's a tax. like it or not, it's a tax.
>> reporter: now, we posted a short exchange of this interview online right after it happened and the obama campaign fired back immediately. they accused romney not only of contradicting his campaign but also his earlier statement on the issue. jeff? >> glor: jan, you reported earlier this week that chief justice john roberts changed his mind on this health care ruling. i wonder what mitt romney thought about that decision to change his mind? >> reporter: well, we talked about that and he said it made it look like the decision wasn't based on the constitution but that maybe it was political, that the court was concerned about the court and its relationship with the other branches. but he said that that's something that only the chief justice will know and when he decides to tell us-- if he decides to tell us-- could be some time way in the future. >> glor: jan crawford from new hampshire tonight. jan, thank you. we will have more of jan's interview with mitt and anne romney tomorrow an cbs "this morning." this week, the summer driving
season moves into high gear and americans are paying a lot less at the pump. the price of gas is now $3.34 a gallon-- down 60 cents in almost three months. michelle miller examines whether that trend will continue. >> as you can see the size of the fuel tanks... >> reporter: when we visited trucking fleet owner andy anastasio in connecticut last march, his big rigs were guzzling almost $1,400 worth of diesel every time he filled a tank. not anymore. what's your fuel cost today? >> to fill up the truck, about $1,000. >> reporter: that's a savings of $5,000 every week. you don't sound particularly excited. >> well, we're cautiously optimistic. we'd like to see fuel back down to $2 a gallon where it was only a couple years ago. >> reporter: but analysts say it's unlikely prices will dip that low in the future. the last independent state to see the average price of regular below $2 was in 2004.
it peaked four years later at more than $4--76 cents more than today. oil analyst tom cloza. >> we've probably bottomed out, at least for the next couple months, although it may be a very adventuresome summer. >> reporter: usually gas prices rise just before the peak summer driving season. but this year the law of supply and demand is not the main price driver. instead, global economics and politics have had the most influence. >> the fear that europe is going to fall off a cliff and drag some other countries with it has disappeared for at least july and august. >> reporter: but closa says that that means prices will start to creep up by september. >> you have a lot more risk takers, more speculation that comes into the market and you've coupled with that with reasonable economic growth and you probably have recipe for mildly higher prices. >> reporter: gas prices may have bottomed out, but if we see any disruptions in the middle east or if we have a particularly bad
hurricane season you could start to see those prices rise even faster. jeff? >> glor: michelle, thank you, no day off today from the heat wave gripping much of the nation. temperatures hit either the 90s or 100s in 38 states, and that's an especially big problem for those affected by last week's freak storm. more than 800,000 homes and businesses are still without power. whit johnson is in silver spring maryland. whit, good evening. >> reporter: jeff, good evening. utility companies are calling this a catastrophic weather event. five days later, as you can see, cleanup is far from over. and for all of those still without power this fourth of july is more about survival than celebration. with efforts to restore power still a struggle, frustration around the nation's capital on this fourth of july scorcher is now at a boil. >> this is just dangerous. >> yes, and... for kids. >> reporter: still without power
dexter walker and his family had to flee their home. the scene in his front yard is a if mail war one in this maryland neighborhood-- a downed tree, mangled power line bus no utility crew on the scene to fix it. >> i know it's tough work. i appreciate what they do. but at some point there has to be a better system. >> reporter: power crews from 18 different states and canada have descended on the d.c. area to tackle the outages. joel weatherford from georgia is managing this team from tennessee. he says friday's storm was so violent locating and repairing each trouble spot can be a daunting task for the utility company. >> this is kind of like the tornado storms. they just touchdown and skip around so it takes them a long time to assess the damage. >> reporter: there is good news tonight, pep co-, one of the major utilities here, says it's running ahead of schedule and has restored power to more than 90% of its customers. they hope to have everyone back online by late friday night. jeff? >> glor: whit johnson, thank you. many fireworks displays have
been canceled today because of the fire risk. 44 large fires are burning across the west tonight. firefighters say they have a big fire near colorado springs 80% contained now. that killed two people and destroyed nearly 350 homes. in mexico, election authorities said today they'll conduct a partial recount of the presidential votes after the man who came in second claimed the contest was rigged. the enrique pena nieto won sunday's election. bill whitaker spoke with him about mexico's relationship with the u.s. and the difficulties ahead. >> reporter: it's a tough job. >> it's a tough job, i know. i'm aware of the challenge and i'm ready to work on it. >> reporter: when sworn in as president, enrique pena nieto will face economic challenges. low-wage jobs are fleeing to china. 46% of the people live in poverty, but the most urgent challenge: drug trafficking and violence. he speaks english but preferred to conduct the interview in
spanish. you inherit a drug war that has taken the lives of more than 50,000 of your citizens over the past six years. >> ( translated ): public safety is the most important challenge for our government. we need better intelligence, technology, better equipment to execute more precise hits on the cartels. >> reporter: outgoing president felipe calderon has been criticized as ineffective in fighting drug trafficking. still, pena nieto plans to continue many of his policies. he'll use the military to combat cartels. he'll increase the number of federal police. but he notes this is not just mexico's problem. what role do you think the united states plays in the drug problems confronting the country? >> ( translated ): i think it plays a fundamental role. it's clear the united states is the biggest consumer of illegal drugs. this requires action by both
governments. >> reporter: you have won the most votes but it's not a mandate and you have one of your opponents, mr. lopez obrador, who says he will contest the results of the election. >> ( translated ): almost 50 million mexicans participated in this election. three million observers watched the election process. the main threat to democracy is disenchantment from lack of results. >> reporter: right now the people of mexico are very disenchanted. reversing that will be his greatest challenge. bill whitaker, cbs news, mexico city. >> glor: president obama marked independence day by calling for immigration reform. at the white house, mr. obama attended a swearing-in ceremony for 25 naturalized citizens. all u.s. service members. immigration, the president said, makes america stronger. >> as another step forward, we're lifting the shadow of deportation from deserving young people who were brought to this
country as children. it's why we still need a dream act to keep talented young people who want to contribute to our society, serve our country. it's why we need-- why america's success demands-- comprehensive immigration reform. >> glor: this evening, the president hosted a picnic at the white house for military families. another innocent victim in the scourge of violence in chicago. we're on the ground with u.s. soldiers in afghanistan in one of the last major offenses against the taliban. and for the first time, an amputee will run at the olympics when the "cbs evening news" continues.
>> glor: this july 4 is the 11th americans have spent fighting in afghanistan. but even as we get closer to the deadline for withdrawal, the work is not done. tonight, john bently is on patrol with u.s. forces in eastern afghanistan. >> hey, i don't have friendlys so watch what you're doing. >> reporter: u.s. troops from the 82nd airborne division were patroling this small village looking for taliban fighters and weapons when they were caught in an ambush. they're part of the last major offensive of the war in afghanistan. their job is to clear ghazni province of the taliban who have retaken this vital area. >> good to go. >> reporter: lieutenant randall babcock is one of the platoon leaders for the company. >> there haven't been u.s. forces here for about five
years. that made it pretty crucial for us to be here and come and reestablish a presence in this area. >> reporter: ghazni is important because it's just along the main highway connecting afghanistan's biggest city, kabul and kandahar. >> we're good to go over. >> reporter: it's also become a stronghold for taliban fighters coming in from pakistan. after searching the village for hours, charlie company finds what it's looking for: an insurgent cache of weapons, including a.k.-47 rounds and rocket-propelled grenades. last month, the provincial governor was attacked here by insurgents in a hit-and-run raid. they hide their weapons in villages, then leave the area after an attack. lieutenant babcock, who graduated from west point last year, has been surprised at how resilient the enemy is. >> we've been at this war for ten years, they have a lot of experience now. the dumb ones are dead, so... but the enemy really, really smart. they know exactly what they need to do when they need to do it
and how they actually effectively do something to us. >> reporter: charlie company and the rest of the 82nd airborne will return home in august to leave behind a smaller force to deal with an enemy that never seems to accept defeat. john blently, cbs news, ghazni, afghanistan. >> glor: we have been telling you about the explosion of gun violence in chicago. police say 16 people were shot in just the past day. among them, a ten-year-old girl who was just trying to cool off at a fire hydrant. she and her mother's boyfriend were wounded. both are in the hospital in stable condition. without it, we might not exist, which is why some have called it the "god particle." scientists say they've found it. that story next.
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>> glor: we learned in high school physics class that everything in the universe is made of atoms for but for decades scientists have theorized about a missing piece that gives everything its size and shape. today researchers said they believe they found it. here's mark phillips. >> reporter: it's not often a scientific break through gets sung about. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: but the workers at the world's largest atom smasher are singhing about the higgs boson particle, the so-called "god particle" that's been the holy grail in the world of
physics for almost 50 years. ever since peter higgs-- now 83-- theorized that the particle must exist in order for the universe and everything in it to hold together to have what the physicists call "mass." without higgs boson there would be no stars, no planets, no us. so at the large hadron collider on the french/swiss border, they've been blasting bits of atoms on each other and measuring the tiny bit it is collisions produce. >> as i a layman i would now say i think we have it. (cheers and applause) >> reporter: rolf heuer, the project's director announced the results to an appreciative audience of scientists. though they couldn't say they positively found the higgs boson particle itself, they could say they found one that walks and talks like one and may be it. peter higgs himself was satisfied, his theory vindicated. >> to me it's really an incredible thing that's happened in my lifetime.
>> reporter: the challenge now is to explain what it means. professor heinz wolff has been trying to explain science for decades. he even devised a machine to blast meat pies at each other to demonstrate what an atom smasher does. (laughter) so what does the discovery mean for us? >> if you're the lay any the supermarket, it isn't going to make any difference to you. >> reporter: but the supermarket wouldn't be there. >> well, the weight of the supermarket, or mass of the supermarket. >> reporter: the supermarket exists and the universe exists and now these people believe they've found the tiny particle that provides the cosmic glue that holds it all together. mark phillips, cbs news, london. >> glor: records are broken all the time at the olympics, but history like this has never been made. south africa's oscar pistorius will become the first amputee to run at the games.
>> glor: on this independence day, we tend broadcast with a story of a man who's made a negotiation give america's fallen soldiers one final salute. here's mark strassmann. ("taps" playing) >> reporter: there are 24 notes in "taps," america's best-known bugle call. jari villanueva played each one perfectly at arlington national cemetery where on average "taps" is heard 30 times a day. the retired air force bugler is generally considered the nation's leading authority on "taps." in 23 years here, villanueva estimates he's sounded the final call at more than 3,000 funerals. >> the very opening is easily recognized. (plays notes)
you know what's coming next. >> pelley: powerful. >> yeah. (plays notes more strongly) >> reporter: like the "star spangled banner", "taps" was born in war. union general daniel butterfield adapted it from a french tune as a new way to sing it will end of the day for the battle-weary troops. since 1891, "taps" has officially been part of all u.s. military funerals and marked the passing of army privates and u.s. presidents. >> out of all the times i've done "taps," the most meaningful and poignant for me have been for active duty services. it creates pressure on the bugler to make sure it's perfect it's something that's quite emotional when you're plague for someone who's lost their life in service to our country.
for me, i'm always thinking about a specific bible version. corinthians "for we shall all be changed in a moment at the sound of the last trumpet. for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall rise, incorruptible." >> reporter: 260,000 u.s. military veterans lie at rest here in arlington. villanueva considered sounding the call for each new arrival his sacred duty. mark strassmann, cbs news, at arlington national cemetery. >> glor: that is the "cbs evening news" on this fourth of july. for scott pelley, i'm jeff glor. good night.
this is 9 news now. tonight at 7:00 something no one wants to hear, severe weather, the heat and humidity causing some storms to pop up. so the 9 news now weather team issued a severe weather alert. anny has the very latest with who is in the bull's eye >> it's going to be started and pop-up through this evening. i don't think everyone will see severe thunderstorms. some of us do have the potential to see pretty big storms come through the area. what we're watching is now in our area we don't have any storms, but it's too the northwest. you see that area in yellow where you see in pennsylvania, that is the severe thunderstorm warning in effect and that is eventually heading our direction over the next couple hours. so we have to watch for things to really